VHA Inc. Launches Toolkit to Help Hospitals Reduce the Demand for Early Elective Delivery

New Website Equips Health Care Professionals with Resources to Reduce Patient Demand for EED




"While hospitals have been successful at reducing EEDs through new policies, more work can be done to reduce the demand for EEDs from patients and their families who may not understand the potential risks"

As part of VHA Inc.’s work as a Hospital Engagement Network (HEN), it is offering a free online toolkit ( for health care professionals to educate expectant mothers and community stakeholders about the risks associated with early elective deliveries (EED) and therefore reducing demand.

An EED is scheduling a baby’s birth before 39 weeks, full-term gestation, without medical reason for early delivery. Studies have shown that many patients don’t know that EEDs can jeopardize the baby’s or mother’s health.

During the last few weeks of a baby’s development, vital organs such as brain and lungs are in critical growth stages. When babies are not carried full term, it can negatively impact their ability to thrive outside the womb as well as their future cognitive capabilities, as highlighted in VHA’s “Precious Time” infographic found in the new toolkit.

VHA’s new EED Toolkit features these easy-to-use tools and resources:

  • Getting Started Overview: Clinician checklist providing best practices to hospitals for planning and implementing patient education and community outreach programs.
  • Patient Education Tools: Fact sheets, FAQs and infographic about EED risks to aid in patient discussions.
  • Reaching the Community: Ideas to help engage community advocates in EED education efforts, including practical tips on building community advisory boards and coalitions.
  • Resources for Clinicians: Published research and scientific evidence, third-party data and additional materials on the medical risks of EED for clinician and staff education.

In 2011, VHA was selected as a HEN as part of the federal Partnership for Patients initiative focused on reducing 10 areas of patient harm, including reducing birth complications by lowering EED rates.

VHA began its EED reduction efforts in 2011 by working with the March of Dimes to execute its Intensive Opportunity Bundle EED Reduction Program. This program addressed unique conditions and barriers at 26 VHA HEN hospitals with high early elective delivery rates and helped them implement policies and procedures to reduce EEDs. Since establishing this program, these 26 hospitals reduced their aggregate EED rate by 80%, or from 15.1% to 3.0%. However, patient requests for EEDs may persist.

“While hospitals have been successful at reducing EEDs through new policies, more work can be done to reduce the demand for EEDs from patients and their families who may not understand the potential risks,” said Dr. Keith Kosel, vice president and program director for VHA’s HEN. “When patients and their families know the facts, they can make better decisions about their deliveries, leading to healthier babies and moms. We are proud to share a toolkit with some of the best resources from national maternal care experts and some new materials from VHA to help educate expectant mothers and community members about the risks of EED.”

VHA Inc. is a national network of not-for-profit health care organizations working together to improve performance and efficiency in clinical, financial and operational management. Since 1977, when VHA established the first hospital membership organization, the company has applied its knowledge in analytics, contracting, consulting and network development to help members and customers achieve their strategic objectives. In 2013, VHA delivered $2.2 billion in savings and additional value to members. Serving 5,000 health system members and affiliates, VHA represents more than a quarter of the nation's hospitals. VHA also serves more than 118,000 non-acute health care customers enterprise-wide. VHA is based in Irving, Texas, and has 11 regional offices across the U.S. VHA, together with UHC, owns Novation, a supply chain company, and aptitude® , the health care industry's first online direct contracting market. VHA also owns Provista, a supply chain company serving the non-acute market as well as government, education and business. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter (@VHAInc).


VHA Inc.
David Matthews, 972-830-2901

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